Why do 35mm films come in nice plastic canister??

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by tkamiya, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    This is more of a curiosity question....

    You know the nice plastic canister that virtually all 35mm films today come in? I understand, in the past, these used to be metal. To me, it looks like 35mm films are the type needing LEAST protection of this level. It already comes in a sturdy canister. A simple foil pack like 120 film should suffice to keep the film fresh. (may even be better because foil packages are hermetically sealed...)

    Anyone know technical or historical reason behind this?
     
  2. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I would suggest cost first of all, the plastic may come from recycled plastic and therefore very cheap plus they are watertight.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I guess once Ilford packed their films in Wedgwood ceramics...


    To be serious:

    type 135 cassettes were packed in foil packs (further packed in those cardboard boxes) in the Soviet Union and the GDR.


    Once there were Kodak boxes made out aluminium with plastic lid.
     
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  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Great question. I wonder if the Kodak customer service reps could find the answer.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    They help when you refrigerate or freeze film. 120 film comes in an air tight wrapper. 35mm does not. If the plastic canister was not there, I fear condensation would be a bit of a problem when the film is defrosted again.
     
  6. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    The metal pots had a screw top lid and (if I remember correctly?) a soft seal - so they were in fact air and water tight. The plastic ones are neither, but still pretty dust-resistant. Getting a few grains of dust or sand stuck in the felt light-trap is unlikely to be good news, so some sort of protection is a good idea.

    Multipacks of Ilford 135 film are/were indeed plastic-wrapped like the 120 rolls. Probably the most robust combination is those 120 rolls which are in the heat-sealed plastic and then put inside a big plastic pot, as that gives both gas and dust protection. EDIT: - I just checked my stash, and I have mis-remembered this as the rolls sold in the pots are not inside the plastic stuff after all, oops!
     
  7. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    There should be a recycle system for the plastic film canisters, I have a cpl of bags of them here just eating space...

    :D
     
  8. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    I'm guessing the plastic canister is intended to protect the 35mm film cassette itself from incidental deformation, as it is unlikely to fit in a camera and/or be usable if it is bent. 120 needs no such protection.
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Here in Germany there is: they are collected in the specified non-paper packaging recycling.
     
  10. ndrs

    ndrs Subscriber

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    In fact those Soviet films were usually sold without cassettes, of right length and both ends properly cut but you had to load them into your own cassette.
     
  11. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Kodak 35mm B&W film used to come in a foil wrapper. Color films came in a screw top metal can.

    I imagine one reason for the can was to protect the film when it was mailed in to Kodak for processing. B&W was usually done locally. Kodak didn't sell B&W processing mailers though they did have a B&W processing service that was used by retail stores.

    FWIW: Agfa used to package their 120 in screw top aluminum cans.
     
  12. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    35mm films have a 'tail' that sticks out of the cassette, since the packing lines are totally automatic you need to 'tub' the film or you would not be able to package automatically without fear of damaging the tail, or at least higher waste at that packaging stage, in addition, once tubbed the films are fully protected from damage and moisture and ingestion of potentially damaging gases etc, etc they also obviously form the strength in the boxed surround, and they stack on shelves...hence why they are boxed.

    As someone says...ahhh but you only foil the film in the 50 roll bulk packs of film you sell?

    Absolutely correct, we do, and because of that we have to use a different finishing route that has a manual element plus significant 'oversee' and actually costs significantly more to produce, but having 50 tubbed plastic films in one box would not be very eco-friendly and as we all know being eco friendly is not always cheap....but it is the correct thing to do.

    Simon. ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited
     
  13. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Yes, I know about those re-fills. Here is a photo of such refill:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancephoto/6178375724/


    But to my understanding the 135 cassettes were packaged the same way.

    older:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/Orwo-np22.jpg
    more recent:http://cloud.lomography.com/576/324/84/e435b7c8abcb8a401e4f14732ab72353816585.jpg





    here is a variety of type of boxes:
    http://idrh.smugmug.com/Photography/Kodak-Data-Sheets/i-962ShwV/0/L/Pots-L.jpg
     
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  16. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Or... why don't 120 films come in a nice plastic canister? (Adox films do).


    Steve.
     
  18. ndrs

    ndrs Subscriber

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    You're right about ORWO packaging. Soviet films however came without cassettes by default. I can't recall seeing any of those films coming with a cassette, although I can't rule out they might have in exceptional cases. Most of the Soviet films were loaded into used ORWO or Foma cassettes. Foma's metal cassettes were especially popular because of their ruggedness. ORWO also had thin aluminium canisters with plastic caps for their transparency films like UT18, those were also re-used in SU.
     
  19. jernejk

    jernejk Member

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    Older films (like Efke / CHS 25, RIP) came on PET base, so there's a notice on their web site:

    "CHS 35mm and 120 Films are beeing coated on clear PET. Therefore the films are sensitive to light piping. We sell all 35mm and 120 films in black plastic containers. Please load your camera only in subdued light and put the films back in their black containers as soon as possible."

    I got FP4 and HP5 in a foil: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jernej_k/8435435045/in/photostream
     
  20. cl3mens

    cl3mens Member

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    I once traded 20-25 empty canisters for around 10 rolls of unexposed film.. He was very happy with that deal since he didn't shoot film anymore but had a million uses for the canisters. :smile: Wish it could be that simple more often!

    On topic: I guess that the canister encourages people to be a little more cautious with their finished roll as well and just not stick it in their sand/dust-filled jeans pocket.
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Unfortunately, every time he went to use them:

    a) he felt the need for a snack; and
    b) he couldn't remember what he intended to do with them.:whistling:
     
  22. AgX

    AgX Member

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    But... the classic "shelves" in a photo shop at least over here formed boxes arranged diogonally, so no problem in stacking cylindrical objects. (Well, a protruding rim of a lid could have formed a problem.)

    http://www.photoscala.de/grafik/2012/kt-fotoladen2011.jpg

    http://www.abendblatt.de/img/hamburg/crop107942638/5070699287-ci3x2l-h307/Analoge-Fotografie.jpg
     
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  23. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    I'll grant it is the correct thing to do.

    But I will also posit that the lowest cost solution is often also the least polluting. Pathological exceptions abound, of course. If something now takes more labor you have to factor in all the pollution that the labor creates - not the direct pollution, which is trivial - but the indirect pollution. One man-year of labor produces, as a side effect, one family-year's worth of pollution: one years worth of gasoline, electricity, garbage, household waste, sewage, tires, scrapped automobiles ...

    Making pollution costs money: It doesn't grow on trees, you know.

    Now just to figure out what to do with all the UPU's - "Unemployed Polluting Units."

    On Topic: When Kodak packaged 35mm in foil they first inserted the cassette in a cardboard tube. I used to think it was for crush resistance but it may have allowed them to use automated bagging machinery as it kept the film tongue from getting caught in the machinery. Crush resistance wouldn't have made sense: the tube was far more crush-able than the cassette.
     
  24. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I still have some of the old aluminum containers.

    So, at the risk of hijacking the thread, what's the oddest use you've found for those canisters? In my case, storing my kids baby teeth after the tooth fairy was done with them.
     
  25. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I have used HP5+ from a foil packet before, you can find them when you get 8x10 paper with a few rolls as a bonus.

    When I travel with a fair amount of film, its actually easier to take off the paper box, and the plastic canister, and toss the film into thick ziplocks. It saves so much more space.

    But I am very thankful of the plastic canisters, esp the ilford ones where the cap is streamlined to the edge of the container since they bag neatly when I reroll and freeze them. The kodak type though a bit easier to remove the cap, have a protruding flange that takes up a bit of space which doesnt make neat packages in ziplock bags.
     
  26. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Once Upon a Time.....

    .....they did not.

    I have late 1930's Kodachrome 35mm containers that were aluminum.

    Frankly, I can not imagine why this is a matter of concern.